Mayor issues emergency order requiring face coverings
Cedar Park businesses and non-profits must require employees and visitors
to wear a face covering while inside
Cedar Park Mayor Corbin Van Arsdale has issued an Emergency Order requiring all commercial entities and non-profits (other than churches and places of worship) to require face coverings. The Order requires that every person over the age of 10 (both employees and visitors) inside these facilities or buildings to wear a face covering over their mouth and nose when that person is within six feet of another person. The Order also requires all commercial entities to display a notice of the requirement.
The Order is in response to a steady increase in the number of COVID-19 cases and hospitalizations in Cedar Park over the past month.
Mayor Van Arsdale said, “After listening to feedback from our residents, our Cedar Park Chamber of Commerce, and several key business owners in one-on-one calls, later today I’m issuing an order that directs our Cedar Park businesses and non-profits to require face coverings indoors for both employees and visitors.”
The Order goes into effect on Wednesday, July 1, 2020, at 12:01 a.m. It shall continue until the Order is terminated or the Declaration of Local State of Disaster for the City of Cedar Park, Texas. The face-covering provisions will be reviewed regularly for enhancements, improvements, reconsideration and termination in light of local ICU bed capacity, health district COVID-19 data, effectiveness and compliance.
Mayor Van Arsdale emphasized that face coverings and social distancing requirements, as well as CDC-recommended hygiene habits, are to protect the community.
“First, this will protect our Cedar Park residents. Our Wilco ICU bed usage is at 88 percent, and is expected to fill soon if big changes don’t happen right now,” Mayor Van Arsdale said. “Cedar Park has only four ICU beds currently available. One of us, or someone we care about, may need an ICU bed this summer. We must do everything we can to make sure that bed will be there. Since I’ve been on the City Council, I don’t remember receiving more emails/phone calls about any issue than I have in the last 10 days on the issue of face coverings. The ratio from residents has been nine-to-one in favor of businesses requiring face coverings.”
He added that his Order also aims to protect the local economy.
“Second, this will protect our businesses and our economy – particularly our small businesses,” Mayor Van Arsdale said. “The businesses themselves have universally told me they are highly supportive of having such a directive in place. When a customer infects one of their employees, sometimes the entire business has to temporarily shut down. Also, businesses should not have to deal with unequal playing fields with their competitors when making mask policies, while they’re fighting to survive. That playing field should be level.”
While there are no civil or criminal penalties for non-compliance, businesses must require face coverings under this Order. The requirement to wear face coverings does not apply to the following situations:
- When eating, drinking or smoking
- When outdoors
- When a person is engaged in exercise or physical activity at a gym or exercise facility
- When wearing a face covering poses a greater health, safety or security risk than not wearing one
- When a person is within six feet of another person but is separated from that person by Plexiglass or other mitigation strategy that provides adequate separation
- When inside a building or facility that requires security surveillance or screening, such as a bank or financial institution
- When under the age of 13 and attending a daycare, childcare, youth camp or sports camp
Mayor Van Arsdale emphasized that the main reason to wear face coverings is not to protect oneself from exposure, but rather to help prevent those who are unknowingly infected from spreading COVID-19. He emphasized that we must slow down the spread by keeping six feet distance from others and, when it is not possible to distance, by wearing face coverings.
“Lots of uncertainty remains about this virus,” Mayor Van Arsdale said. “If we’re wrong about face coverings, then it’s a small inconvenience. But if we’re right about them, we’re saving lives and we’re saving our economy.”
A downloadable, printable sign for businesses will be available here on June 30, 2020. Click here to read the full Order.